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NASCAR Formula 1

Lewis Hamilton Must up his Game

Image courtesy of Mercedes AMG F1 Team

He hasn’t been on the podium since the first race after the summer break, and he has only converted four pole positions into a solitary win. Just one win; an unorthodox statistic when talking about Lewis Hamilton.

Indeed, this season has had its fair share of ups and downs, but there has been a noticeable drop in performance from the Briton when his teammate seems to be on a surge. He has been outscored by his teammate since the Italian Grand Prix by 63 points to 36 — not good at all, considering most everyone expected Hamilton to obliterate his teammate on most every occasion.

Yes, Hamilton has been more consistent and that shows in the standings, but in recent races, it has been Nico Rosberg who has led the team to second in the constructors’ championship, a position that could be in jeopardy should Hamilton not up his game immediately.

Though they’re important in every season, places in the constructors’ championship are of absolutely vital importance going into the 2014 season. The regulation changes regarding engine technology, aerodynamics and logistics are monumental, making the money earned for your position in the standings all the more important.

Mercedes has leapfrogged Ferrari for second in those standings, mostly thanks to Rosberg’s two podium finishes in the last two races. Hamiltion, meanwhile, has been anonymous, finishing sixth and seventh in India and Abu Dhabi respectively. Given the Abu Dhabi track exasperated the Ferrari chassis’s weaknesses in slow corners, the team losing ground in the fight for second is understandable. But, Ferrari will be competitive in Austin and Brazil. You can bet on that.

If Hamilton isn’t at the top of his game for the final two races of the season, then Mercedes might as well say goodbye to the extra $30 million or so over third place, because Ferrari will exploit any weakness it sees in Mercedes.

Hamilton has surprised us all this season. One could say Vettel didn’t win the 2012 championship and that Hamilton lost it because he had the most competitive car for most of the season, and his decision to switch to Mercedes for 2013 was a shock. The end of 2012 was absolutely dismal for Mercedes. They had only one points finish after the Singapore Grand Prix.

The fact that Hamilton has been so strong, and Rosberg too for that matter, is a testament to the strength of the drivers and the depth of the team’s technical department. However, if Hamilton is not constantly raising the bar of his personal performance and achieving it on track, then 2013 could be tainted with a hint of regret.